[photopress:mba_queue_for_toefl_test.jpg,full,alignright]The US Educational Testing Service (ETS is a private educational testing and measurement organization, operating on an annual budget of around a billion dollars) has announced that the seats of internet-based TOEFL tests in China will expand from 1,950 in June to over 3,550 by the end of 2007, an increase of 80% in only six months.
TOEFL stands for Tests of English as a Foreign Language and in some cases it is a total nonsense and in a few cases it has become a money-making racket.
(You want to see how tests work? http://toeflpractice.ets.org/ gives you an example. Which you can use if you pay $44.95 with different prices for different levels. This is, repeat, a commercial organization although there are non-commercial parts of it. And this is not the first criticism it has encountered.)
On computer testing the top mark is around 300 and universities have been saying that a result over 60 means the student has enough of a command of English to be able to benefit from an university course carried on in that language. Which is a nonsense.
Now, according to a press release sent out by ETS the expansion is a result of proactive network construction and optimization efforts — any press release that uses a phrase like that should automatically fail TOEFL — made by ETS and China’s National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) jointly to meet increased demand for TOEFL tests in China.
Paul A. Ramsey, Senior Vice President of ETS’s Global Division said, ‘ETS is committed to ensuring that everyone in China who wishes to take the test has an opportunity to do so.’
The current 73 internet-based TOEFL test sites are located in 28 cities throughout China, including 19 sites in Beijing, eight in Shanghai, five in Nanjing, four in Hangzhou, and four in Tianjin.
TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 6,000 colleges and universities in over 110 countries, and the number of TOEFL test takers in China has been growing steadily in recent years. Our illustration is from a line of potential TOEFL takers.
At some point a clear and proper understanding of what constitutes a proper test of the English language and what is an acceptable score will be worked out.